The violent protests against Chinese rule had spread to the city of Aba. Chinese soldiers ended up patrolling the streets of Tibet’s capital of Lhasa on Sunday. Many Tibetan exiles and pro-Tibet independence groups are some of many to use the free press coverage provided by the Olympics in Beijing to publicize their causes.
China has said that Tibet has always been part of the country. Before China occupied the country, Tibet was autonomous.
So far, the leaders in Tibet say that at least 80 people have been killed during the crackdown. Various human rights groups do say that people have been killed. But, the exact death toll has not been confirmed yet. According to India’s government, several sources have confirmed the death toll by the Tibetan leaders. However, China said that 10 people have died.
While the Dalai Lama said that his supporters should not use violence, he gave criticism towards China. He has asked for the international community to launch a probe into the actions by China’s government in regards to the crackdown in Lhasa. The Dalai Lama has said that China is implementing a “rule of terror.” He also accused China of trying to kill Tibet’s culture in what he calls a “cultural genocide.”
“The lay people and monks seem to have joined together in a protest… which was focused around the police presence in the town,” said Kate Saunders, who is part of the group, the International Campaign for Tibet.
She explains that they clashed with police around noontime on Sunday.
“It has become really very, very tense. Now today and yesterday, the Tibetan side is determined. The Chinese side also equally determined. So that means, the result: killing, more suffering,” the Dalai Lama explained during in interview with BBC. He is both the spiritual leader of Tibet and Buddhism. Ever since the Chinese occupation, the Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India.
He does support the idea of using the Olympics in Beijing to publicize the cause. There have been talks of using the Olympic torch relay points to stage their protests. However, they will not be the only groups using the free press to publicize a cause.
Hollywood actor Richard Gere, a supporter of Tibet and a convert to Buddhism said that he would plan to boycott the Olympics as a result of China’s crackdown.
Asides from Tibet, there is the issue of Darfur. So far, China is the number one customer of Sudan’s oil. According to New Mexico Governor and former Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson; China controls Sudan’s economy. During the CNN Democratic Debates back in 2007, Richardson gave the suggestion that the US threaten to boycott the Olympics as a means to pressure China to do more to end the violence in Darfur.
Hollywood director Steven Spielberg had resigned from his post as a creative director of the Olympics in Beijing because of Darfur.
There is also the possibility that Taiwan could be added to the woes surrounding the Olympics in Beijing.